Thursday, October 20, 2011

Creating Cozy

It's that time of year. We spend a bit more time inside. While we are still outside a lot when we get in we are chilled. It's time to curl up together and what's better than some warm, fuzzy jammie pants to do that in. I really do hope my kids enjoy wearing them as much as I enjoy making them for them. I see them cozied up in their mama made jammies and I get warmed from the inside out.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Enjoying nature's bounty.

Apple picking on a rare 80 degree day in October in Maine. Those do not happen often. But the apples were lovely and the warm cider donuts were a wonderful treat for all.
Applesauce has been in lunchboxes and as an after school snack many times in the last week and always seconds are asked for and gladly given. Little bellies full of good food that they have a hand in making. It's a good life.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Power of Scent

When my babies were tiny and brand new I remember being very conscious of any scents I used on my body. I didn't want any of their senses to be overwhelmed, including their sense of smell as we spent so much time in skin to skin contact with one another.

I have scent memories of my own mother. Camay soap and Tigress perfume. The very ideas of these make me think of clean snuggles and safety. The smell of Mr. Clean reminds me of my best friend's house. I often wonder what scent memories my own children would have of me.

One day a couple weeks ago my 6 year old son walked up to the clothes drying on the clothesline and grabbed a handful of a garment and put his nose in it. He then said to no one in particular, "smells like mama love". Guess that answered that question.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Lazy Days of Summer

Okay, so summer hasn't been very lazy but so far it's been wonderful. The weather has been beautiful and we've had loads of perfect summer days at the beach, in the pool, playing with friends, lounging playing games in the yard. Life is good. Summer is wonderful.I feel so blessed to be able to be home with our children and be a part of every minute of their lives in these precious and fleeting years. Thank you to my husband from the bottom of my heart for that.

I am firmly of the belief that playtime is as important as school. Unstructured free play is where a child's mind explores and develops itself. It is my greatest pleasure in life to sit back and watch my kids and their friends play.
They have experienced nature and learn respect for it as they did when playing in the river rapids. They have played in the sand and stalked minnows and crabs and periwinkles.

and Joey found a heart shaped rock that now sits on my kitchen window sill that reminds me not only of our day at the beach but of a friend who has passed away this past winter. She saw hearts everywhere in Nature. When I find a heart I feel it was left by her for me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I Am Not A Knitter

...but I really want to be. I have tried from time to time since I was a child and knitting needles and I just do not get along. We have a power struggle. We fight for control. I cannot relax and hold the yarn in a death grip. I am trying to relax. I am trying simply making small swatches in different patterns and trying to let go and let it happen. It is still a struggle.

I am in such awe of knitters that just work away seemingly not even paying attention to what their magical needles are doing. There's this little diddy that a friend, Michelle Heid, whipped up for my daughter.

Another friend posted a link to a cardigan she liked and it's in crochet. Crochet I can relax and do a bit better with but up until this point all I have ever made are washcloths. Let it be known that they are perfectly gorgeous washcloths. So, I jumped right into the deep end of the pool and ordered a cotton/linen blend yarn and the right size crochet hooks and I'm going to give this a go this summer. Sounds like something good to work on while I am outside with the kids.

Wish me luck. If you hear me weeping from my backyard you'll know it's gone horribly wrong. I may end up back at my comfort zone with my sewing machines.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dealing With The Death of a Pet

We lost a pet this week, our rabbit, Bunbun. This is a first that Joey has been able to understand what was happening. Kate is still too young at 2 and a half, to really get it.

Bunbun was probably about 7.5 years old. I adopted him from a local animal shelter 6 and a half years ago and they estimated his age at right around a year old; someone's Easter bunny that was soon neglected once the novelty wore off. He was an English Lop that had a load of personality and a nibble taken out of one ear where a bunny in another cage at the shelter took a territorial chunk out of it. It gave him character.

As soon as I found him laying peacefully on his side I had to decide how to proceed with the kids. I called my husband and then pulled Joey over to talk to him. Kids will amaze you every day and this day was no different.

I told him Bunbun had died and watched as the words sunk in and the tears came up in his eyes. I held him as he cried. Then he stood up and looked at me and said he was glad that Bunbun was dead. Honestly, this statement took me aback. I asked why and he explained that now Bunbun got to be in heaven and it was better than here. Big stuff for a 6 year old. A friend of mine passed away a few months ago and he asked me if maybe Patti was taking care of Bunbun now and I said I thought that was very possible.

We are a family that will always have pets so death is something that will be dealt with time and time again with them. Death is part of life and I don't want to hide it from my children. I hope I was able to let Joey deal with the experience in his own way. I gave him the information and was here for comfort but he has to grieve and process in his own personal way.

We buried him out in the yard in a flower bed where we can plants some flowers for him soon and Joey can visit with him. He made him a grave marker and put a couple of his toys down in the dirt and mulch. I slept with Joey that night and held him and calmed him every time he woke up upset. It was most possibly the worst week for a pet rabbit to die - right before Easter with rabbits everywhere. The rawness of the wound getting picked at every time we see one in a flyer or decoration.

Bunbun may not be here in the house with us any more but he is in our hearts and this is the message I want my children to carry with them as we go through this loss and future losses. That being said, I have made the proclamation to the other animals that there will be no more dying for awhile. That's it. Foot down. It is so.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rites of Spring

I love my clotheslines. I love the way the clothes smell. I love that it's better for my clothes. I love that it's better for the environment. I really love that it's free and I love the almost zen effect of actually hanging everything on the line. It can not be rushed. It is simply done one item, one clothespin at a time.
I may not have access to the full clotheslines yet but I will use what I can get to without snow gear. To me there is nothing sweeter than sliding into bed with fresh sheets dried on the line. It's a slice of heaven at the end of a busy day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Sweet Sunday in March

The 4th Sunday of March in Maine is celebrated as Maine Maple Sunday. The local sugar houses open their doors and many serve a pancake breakfast al fresco in the brisk early spring temperatures. What is it about fresh air that makes even the most simple food taste so good? Of course, fresh maple syrup on pancakes and bacon is heavenly anyway.

 The particular farm we normally go to, Coopers, here in Windham raises miniature horses. Those are as much a hit with the kids as they are with Joe and myself.

 They also have cows and an ostrich named Clyde, peacocks, a blue eared pheasant, and chickens. All in all it's a great way to spend a chilly morning - some fresh air, great food, a little mud, and some animals. It's a win win in our book.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On the cusp of spring

While it is technically now spring winter is giving us one, hopefully final blow. A dusting of snow fell on Saturday and then another 2 inches on Monday. It was just enough to make the muddied ground look fresh but I am ready for the mud and brown that comes before the flowers poke their leaves from the ground. Snow is January but this is March. I am over it.

While we are back inside for the time being I am spending time researching local CSAs (community supported agriculture). Last summer we bought a half share from Little Ridge Farm that is near where my husband works. I never went to the farm. He would simply come home with the boxes of produce on Friday evenings. It was a little like a foodie Christmas every Friday.

This summer we are doing the same half share from that farm but also buying a credit from another farm, Rippling Waters. I want to take the kids. I want them to see where our food comes from and who grows it. I would like them to have a respect for the food they eat that I think can only come from either growing it ourselves or through a CSA. I enjoy playing in my gardens and growing flowers but I think it is best that I leave growing the vegetables to the experts or we could all come down with a mean case of scurvy and that's not really what we're aiming for.

The CSA near my husband's work is one where I take what I get every week. The second one we have signed up for I can go and shop at their farm stand and supplement what comes from the other CSA or what we simply want more of.

We also are looking into locally raised organic pork. Last year we purchased a quarter cow from a Sebago Lake Ranch and have been very pleased with the cost, quality, and taste. It was our first foray into bulk meat and it has been a great experience. While not certified organic it is grass fed and hormone and antibiotic free, which were my main concerns.

Why buy your vegetables from a CSA? There are so many reason and here are some that I feel strongly about, in no particular order.

  • the food is grown locally which means it is fresher when I get it and doesn't need to be trucked across the country creating all the pollution that comes with the transportation.
  • we are supporting local farmers.
  • organic vegetables. While not all CSA farms are not certified organic the ones we are using are.
  • as I stated above, we can all get a great appreciation and respect for the food we eat and the people who grow it. 
And the cherry on top is that the farm stand is near a river where I can take the kids swimming and have picnic lunches on lazy summer afternoons...which on a snowy Tuesday in March I am really looking forward to.

So, this is what I have been spending my time doing while Mother Nature throws one last bit of winter our way. I have been cozy on the couch by the wood stove dreaming of children running barefoot through the grass and swimming in warm summer rivers and the fresh foods I can prepare for us all summer long.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mud, Glorious Mud

Spring is slowly but surely arriving here in Maine. Mud season is upon us. Today's sun and warm temperatures were reason enough to get out and go for a walk with Kate and Maggie.

While we puttered along down the road I remembered to breathe deep - to exhale some of the cobwebs from my lungs and to inhale some of the cool, clear air. After months of being cooped up inside it felt so good to be out.

There is still plenty of snow to be had and we have weeks of melting left before we find grass and forest floor but the promise of it is all around. Before we know it the peepers will be serenading us from the vernal pools.

Kate especially liked the puddles. Of course she did. What else is better to a 2 year old? Fresh air, sunshine and kids = the perfect combination. Free to explore. No schedule to follow. Simply time to enjoy being two.

Then it was home for grilled cheese and cocoa before stories and nap. It's not a bad life. Not one bit.
Today we read Mud by Mary Lyn Rae before naptime as one of our choices.